Attracting customers

How To Turn Your Pub From Drab To Fab

17 November 2017
4 minute read

Alex Woods

In an industry where innovation is valued just as much as tradition, pub owners often face the challenge of making sure that their pub meets modern customer demand while still maintaining those traditional features that punters love. With almost 50,000 pubs open in the UK, competition is at an all-time high and it’s really important to get the look and feel of your pub just right.

This will have an impact on the first impression your customer gets of your pub, how long they stay for, how likely they are to return, and whether they will recommend it to others. So from your interiors and your bar, to your lighting and outdoor space, making sure your pub looks the part is just as important as your offering.

So if you feel that your pub is starting to feel a bit dated and needs a revamp, or perhaps just a long overdue makeover, here are a few tips to get you started:

Create A Plan + Budget Wisely

Whether it’s a full refurbishment or just a few improvements here and there, you’ll need to put a plan and budget in place. For example if you’re planning a full pub refurbishment, you’ll need to consider the amount of time the work will take, how many days or weeks you’ll be out of business for, and how it will affect your takings. A pub refurbishment can take between six to eight weeks so you’ll need to have a plan and some financial backing (such as a Business Cash Advance) to help minimise the disruption.

And when it comes to budgeting, you’ll need to account for absolutely everything, even smaller jobs such as installing card readers or new tills. Being meticulous in your planning and budgeting means you’re less likely to run into any problems or run out of money before the work is finished.

Obsess About Interiors

Your customers will often be spending hours at a time inside your pub, so maintaining its interior is extremely important It needs to be inviting, comfortable and relaxed.

This doesn’t necessarily mean giving it a complete overhaul, but could simply be working with what you already have. For example, you could consider working with a combination of hard and soft furnishings - this could include big comfortable sofas with more upright tables and chairs which cater to different group sizes. Seating booths can also offer a private and intimate setting for customers looking for a quiet evening.

When it comes to originality, don’t be too quick to replace quirky features such as fireplaces and original flooring. These small touches add authenticity and character to your pub which could give it the edge over your competitors.

You should also review your floor space and arrangement. Does it currently look overcrowded and is there enough space for people to move around? Are there any spaces that could be used more effectively?

Consider Your Diners

Making sure you maximise your food offering to diners could be key to boosting business and making it memorable. These days, most pubs are expected to serve food, and the standard and quality of this has risen steeply over the last few years. Get involved by revamping your menu to offer seasonal dishes or specialise in a different cuisine. Offering brunches or a set menu is also a great way to get sittings of diners into your pub.

John Gill, pub owner of The Three Kings says, “I would recommend publicans to look at what food is available in their local areas and see what they think would work. Alternatively, just pick something you know works and try to do it just that little bit better than everyone else.”

In terms of the layout, you may want to separate your dining area from your bar area. By differentiating the decor and furnishings, you could give your restaurant a more formal or upmarket feel, and therefore cater to both your punters and diners separately.

Think About Lighting

One area that definitely mustn’t be overlooked is your lighting as this can transform the whole look and feel of your pub. The first thing to do is assess how your lighting differs from day to night. Do you get a lot of natural light through windows and doors during the day? Are there enough lights installed for the evening? You’ll want your pub to feel light and airy during the day to cater for families eating lunch for example. However, you might want to opt for softer, mood lighting during the evening. And when it comes to artificial light, you’ll want to have as much control over this as you can.

John Gill, pub owner of The Three Kings says,“You need to have full control over the light in your pub. Dimmer switches are essential to creating a warm, cosy, welcoming atmosphere.”

Having lamps and spotlights which can be operated independently will also help you to determine the perfect lighting for your pub, especially during the changing seasons - and they can also feature as quirky art features too!

Turning your pub from drab to fab can involve as little or much work as you like. And whether it’s just a few changes or a complete overhaul, the end result is sure to impress your punters!

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